I decided quite early on that I would need a pen name. I like to think that most of the people I’ve worked with offshore will enjoy Emergency Drill, but I doubt that their bosses will. I could just imagine the reaction as I strolled into an oil company’s offices, just after it hit the best seller lists under my real name.
Of course, it’s one thing to make that decision and quite another to find a name you can live with. I tried anagrams (Marc Osiris?), local place names (Newton Frogmore?) and names of long-dead ancestors (Moses Rankin?) Nothing really worked.
My wife, Chris, mentioned how people often get our first names mixed up. That sparked a memory. When I was very young, there was a neighbour who always called me Christopher. She thought I looked like Christopher Robin. I checked the family photo album and can only assume she was very short-sighted. Anyway, it seems that I look like a Chris, whatever that means. Despite the difficulties it might cause for my wife at any future awards ceremonies, I decided to borrow her name.
For my new surname, I looked for any that were related to my real one. A name that came up repeatedly was “Blackmore”. However, it’s quite popular and I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Ritchie. Delving deeper, I found that one of the possible meanings of Blackmore is “black water”. I looked up Blackwater and found that it was a real, if somewhat obscure, surname.
Chris Blackwater sounded like a good name for a crime writer. No one had taken his domain name. Decision made! And that only took a mere six months. Writing the book was easy by comparison.